New England Patriots

Jerod Mayo opens up about imposter syndrome: ‘It's a motivator'

The Patriots officially introduced Mayo as Bill Belichick's replacement on Wednesday.

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On Wednesday, the New England Patriots officially introduced Jerod Mayo as Bill Belichick's replacement. While there's plenty of pressure that comes with replacing the greatest head coach in NFL history, Mayo is embracing the challenge.

The former Patriots linebacker is approaching his new role the same way he tackled his collegiate career, NFL career, and his time as Belichick's assistant coach. In an exclusive 1-on-1 with our Phil Perry, he opened up about imposter syndrome and how it motivates him to be better.

"I don't think imposter syndrome is a negative thing. It drives me," Mayo told Perry. "I'll give the example, when I got to Tennessee, I was a four-star linebacker and we had all these good players around. I would ask myself, 'Am I supposed to be here? These guys might be too good.' But I really just used that to do all the extra stuff in the film room, in the weight room and things like that. Same thing when I came here.

"When I was drafted here 10th overall, you would think a 10th overall pick wouldn't have that feeling. And everyone has that feeling in certain ways. Everyone wants to act tough, 'Oh, I don't have it. I've got it. I can handle it.' But once again, if you feel that way, maybe you're not stretching yourself far enough. Because as you stretch further and further away from comfort, that's when the imposter syndrome starts to come up. And how you handle that is important. Some people (are) paralyzed by it. For me, it's a motivator. It's a motivator, like, 'I've got to get it done.'"

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Mayo's mentality helped him earn the trust of team owner Robert Kraft, who named him as Belichick's successor just one day after parting ways with the six-time Super Bowl champion head coach. Kraft hired Mayo without having interviewed any other candidates for the position.

Although Mayo admits to experiencing imposter syndrome, don't expect him to be anything like his predecessor. He made it clear during his press conference that he'll be a different type of leader than Belichick.

"I'm not trying to be Bill, I'm not trying to be Bill," Mayo said. "I think that Bill is his own man, if you can't tell by now I'm even a little bit different up here. But what I will say is, the more I think about the lessons that I've taken from Bill, hard work works, right? Hard work works. And that's what we're all about."

Mayo has no shortage of items on his to-do list as he settles into the head-coaching gig. One question he'll look to answer sooner rather than later is who will be the Patriots' offensive coordinator in 2024. He told 98.5 The Sports Hub's Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday that he hopes to assemble his coaching staff "ASAP."

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